#TBT The Osprey – Ask a natural history question: Why slugs?

The Osprey, vol. 42, no. 03 (Summer 2011) By: Barry J. Hicks Q: Slugs are the bane of vegetable gardeners everywhere (especially this rainy spring and summer!), but do they have any redeeming qualities? What is the ecological role of the slug and is there a reason why we can’t do without them? A: Slugs are the bane of many gardeners. Many people do not have a loving relationship with these invertebrates that share their gardens. Although they are not well known in North America, the slugs are considered important members of terrestrial ecosystems world-wide by many biologists. The slugs are terrestrial, air breathing molluscs they are also related to bivalves (e.g. mussels and clams) and cephalopods (e.g. squid and octopus). Generally the molluscs have a muscular foot and a mantle which secretes a calcareous shell. However some molluscs have reduced or absent shells. Slugs are an example of a…

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#TBT The Osprey – Nature Sketches: Painted Lady Butterfly (Vanessa cardui)

The Osprey, vol. 35, no. 02 (May 2004) By: A. Glen Ryan Painted Lady Butterfly by A. Glen Ryan The Painted Lady is likely the most widespread butterfly in the world. It is found almost everywhere except in the deep tropics and the Arctic icecaps. It occurs on every continent except Australia and Antarctica, the reason for one or its common names; the Cosmopolitan! Its preferred habitat is open or disturbed areas including old fields, gardens, and roadsides. It is particularly fond of open sunny fields with thistles, especially the Canada Thistle in Newfoundland, where large numbers sometimes congregate in late summer, resulting in still another common name, the Thistle Butterfly. The Painted Lady belongs to the Nymphalidae, or brush-footed butterflies. They appear to have 4 legs instead of 6. The front legs are much smaller and use less for walking. They are hairy and brushlike in appearance and are…

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#TBT – The Osprey, vol. 01, no. 01 (May 1970)

Stay tuned for more Thursday blog posts featuring throwback articles from The Osprey journal! Ruff sketch by Howard Clase Bird Group News - Rare Birds by: Howard Clase, Founding Editor of The Osprey "Pride of place in this month's report must go to the Reeve which was seen by many people at Long Pond in St. John's in the period 28th April - 1st May. The Ruff (female: Reeve) is one of the spectacular birds of Northern European meadows. It is a medium sized shore bird which in spring puts on a gorgeous multicoloured plumage in the form of a "ruff" and a pair of ear tufts. Each male is different, the colours varying from white through orange, brown and grey to black, and the Ruff may be plain or banded in more than one colour. The males gather together in groups to spend their time displaying their finery to…

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